28th Annual Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana Awards

Big Island residents won first and second place awards in five categories as Hawai‘i’s hospitality industry honored the best-of-the-best of its employees at the 28th Annual Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana (the hard-working people) Awards. Nearly a thousand employees, family members, and industry representatives from throughout the state gathered for the luncheon ceremony, which was sponsored by the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association (HLTA) and held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort on Thursday, Jan.11, 2018.

Hawaii Island finalists take 1st and 2nd place in five categories at hospitality industry awards.

“We’re very proud to recognize the people who are the heart and soul of our visitor industry,” said HLTA president and CEO Mufi Hannemann. “They number in the tens of thousands across the state, and this year we have been able to recognize 60 of the finest individuals across small, medium, and large hotels throughout the state. All of the Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana honorees embody the aloha spirit at work and in the community, and we cannot be more thankful for their contributions to the success of our industry.”

Recipients of HLTA’s accolades are selected based on nominations submitted by their supervisors and co-workers, and are judged on the basis of outstanding and exceptional service to lodging guests, coworkers, and the community.

A total of 67 awards were presented at the event, emceed by KHON2 co-anchors Howard Dashefsky and Marisa Yamane.

Clarence Yee. Courtesy Photo

Clarence Yee, Journeyman Tradesman at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, was named the Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year. “Yee has served 38 years in the industry, and is the most senior person at his resort,” said Hanneman. “His selfless generosity, humility, and excellent teamwork shines not only with his fellow associates, but with everyone he meets.”

This year’s Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana award winners and runners-up are as follows. Hawai‘i Island finalists are highlighted:

Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year: 

  • 1st Place – Clarence Yee, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows
  • 2nd Place – Branden Gaspar, Waikiki Resort Hotel
  • 3rd Place – Juanito Tomas, Marriott’s Ko ‘Olina Beach Club

Manager of the Year:

  • 1st Place – Carol Lopes, Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki Beach Walk
  • 2nd Place – Brandon Maeda, The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas
  • 3rd Place – Anderson Almario, Sheraton Waikiki Bell

Valet Person of the Year Large Property (Over 450 Rooms):

  • 1st Place – Patricio (Peter) Santiago, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa
  • 2nd Place – George Sumida, Prince Waikiki
  • 3rd Place – Benjamin Sarian, Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

Medium Property (200-450 Rooms):

  • 1st Place – Oren Yamagata, Waikoloa Beach Marriott
  • 2nd Place – Craig Shimizu, The Kahala Hotel & Resort
  • 3rd Place – Nathan Brovelli, Aston at The Whaler on Ka’anapali Beach

Small Property (Under 200 Rooms):

  • 1st Place – Rexie Butihi, Maui Beach Hotel
  • 2nd Place – Tiki Uikirifi, The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club
  • 3rd Place – James Winston, Luana Waikiki Hotel & Suites

Engineering/Maintenance Person of the Year Large Property (Over 450 Rooms):

  • 1st Place – David Rickard, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa
  • 2nd Place – Trudenio Ramirez, Sheraton Waikiki
  • 3rd Place – Nelson Tomas, Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

Medium Property (200-450 Rooms):

  • 1st Place – Terence Yamasaki, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel
  • 2nd Place – Wayne Ohta, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel
  • 3rd Place – Rodney Young, Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club

Small Property (Under 200 Rooms):

  • 1st Place – Xing Lin, Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations Club 2
  • nd Place – Ferdinand Lagundino, Lawai Beach Resort
  • 3rd Place – Ben Simao, Marriott’s Kauai Lagoons – Kalanipu’u

Food & Beverage Person of the Year Large Property (Over 450 Rooms):

  • 1st Place – Roger Arrieta, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa
  • 2nd Place – Willie Aniban, The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas
  • 3rd Place – Thomas Rodrigues, Sheraton Waikiki

Medium Property (200-450 Rooms):

  • 1st Place – Sharon Pacheco-Escobar, Waikoloa Beach Marriott
  • 2nd Place – Nancy Dearborn, The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
  • 3rd Place – Debra Agdinaoay, Andaz Maui at Wailea

Small Property (Under 200 Rooms):

  • 1st Place – Robert Bidigare, The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club

Front Office Person of the Year Large Property (Over 450 Rooms):

  • 1st Place – Melani Akuna, The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort
  • 2nd Place – Kelly Stutzman, Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
  • 3rd Place – Byron “Keola” Makaiau, Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa

Medium Property (200-450 Rooms):

  • 1st Place – Rebecca “Becs” Kaneapua-Alexander, Aston at The Whaler on Ka’anapali Beach
  • 2nd Place – Denise “Dee Dee” Mikasa, The Kahala Hotel & Resort
  • 3rd Place – Craig Pohl, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

Small Property (Under 200 Rooms):

  • 1st Place – Tracy Pinnow, Ewa Hotel Waikiki
  • 2nd Place – Janine Pagador, Lawai Beach Resort
  • 3rd Place – Darwin Van Antwerp, Wyndham Vacation Resorts Royal Garden at Waikiki

Housekeeper of the Year:

  • 1st Place – Wilfredo Galicha, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
  • 2nd Place – Arnel Tuazon, Hale Koa Hotel
  • 3rd Place – Brittany Bilbrey, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Medium Property (200-450 Rooms):

  • 1st Place – Delia Bernal, The Kahala Hotel & Resort
  • 2nd Place – Ador Recaido, Aston Waikiki Sunset
  • 3rd Place – Leah Cacay, Waikiki Resort Hotel

Small Property (Under 200 Rooms):

  • 1st Place – Remedios Castillo, The Pagoda Hotel
  • 2nd Place – Andrea Clemente, Aqua Oasis Hotel
  • 3rd Place – Jocelyn Bato, The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club

Security Officer of the Year Large Property (Over 450 Rooms):

  • 1st Place – Marvin Rabara, The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas
  • 2nd Place – Steven Sotelo, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
  • 3rd Place – Jameson DeMello, Hale Koa Hotel

Medium Property (200-450 Rooms):

  • 1st Place – Shawn Maxwell, The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
  • 2nd Place – Avlyn Moniz, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
  • 3rd Place – Nathan Chun, ‘OHANA Waikiki East by Outrigger

Small Property (Under 200 Rooms):

  • 1st Place – Mark Pasion, Lawai Beach Resort
  • 2nd Place – Shawn Uyeda, Marriott’s Kauai Lagoons – Kalanipu‘u

Allied Member of the Year:

Alaska Airlines was named the Allied Member of the Year. The company was recognized as a valuable member of the HLTA for its support of Hawai‘i’s visitor industry and the community.

Leader in Sustainability Award:

The Kahala Hotel & Resort, for their exemplary sustainable practices which have been implemented in its daily operations for over 50 years.

Hospitality Educator of the Year:

Charlene Navarro, Kauai High School, for her active engagement in Kauai High School’s Academy of Hospitality & Tourism and enduring support of Hawai‘i’s future hospitality leaders.

Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana Legacy Award:

The Brothers Cazimero, for playing an instrumental role in Hawaii’s visitor industry through the field of culture, arts, and entertainment.

Woman of the Year Award:

Teri Orton, Hawaii Convention Center/AEG Facilities, for her leadership within the hospitality industry, community and HLTA’s Women in Lodging & Tourism committee.

Chef/Restaurateur of the Year:

Colin Hazama, The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, for his significant contributions to Hawai‘i’s culinary industry and the community.

The Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association (HLTA) is a statewide organization representing hotels, condominiums, timeshares, other lodging entities, suppliers, and related firms and individuals. HLTA is dedicated to supporting Hawai‘i’s visitor industry through education, political action, and membership benefits, and raising awareness about its contributions to communities throughout the state.

Legal Cannabis Businesses Must Be Allowed Access to Banks, Hawai‘i Urges

Hawai‘i Attorney General Doug Chin and Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth, joined by 17 other attorneys general, urged Congress on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, to advance legislation allowing states with legalized medical or recreational marijuana to bring that commerce into the banking system.

AG Chin and AG Lindemuth co-chair the bipartisan National Association of Attorneys General Marijuana Working Group, comprised of states that have legalized either medical cannabis dispensaries, like Hawai‘i, or recreational cannabis.

“Banks and other depository institutions are currently hindered by federal law from providing financial services to cannabis businesses,” said Attorney General Chin, “This encourages a cash-only, grey market that hurts law enforcement and tax collections.”

The multi-state letter requests legislation that would provide a legal “safe harbor” for depository institutions that provide a financial product or service to a covered business in a state that regulates its marijuana industry. Attorney General Chin and the 18 attorneys general emphasized that the requested legislation would not only protect public safety by bringing grey-market financial activities into the banking sector and thus subject to law enforcement monitoring, but would also result in billions of dollars infused into the banking industry.

“Twenty-nine states [including Hawai‘i] and several US territories have legalized the medical use of marijuana. Among those, eight states and the District of Columbia also allow recreational use by adults over 21 years of age. However, because federal government classifies marijuana as an illegal substance, banks providing services to state-licensed cannabis businesses could find themselves subject to criminal and civil liability under the Controlled Substances Act and certain federal banking statutes,” the letter states.

The attorneys general also note a recent decision by the United States Department of Justice to rescind guidance on how financial institutions could provide services to state-licensed marijuana businesses consistent with federal law. That rescission, the attorneys general argue, has made even more urgent the need for congressional action to get the cash generated by this industry into a regulated banking sector.

The multi-state letter was sponsored by Hawai‘i, Alaska, District of Columbia and North Dakota. It was also signed by California, Colorado, Connecticut, Guam, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington.

Today in Hawai‘i, eight licensees have received permission to operate dispensaries for licensed medical cannabis patients.

Dear Congressional Leaders:

We are a bipartisan group of state attorneys general who recognize that the states and federal government share a strong interest in protecting public safety and bringing grey market activities into the regulated banking sector. To address these goals, we urge Congress to advance legislation that would allow states that have legalized medical or recreational use of marijuana to bring that commerce into the banking system.

Twenty-nine states and several US territories have legalized the medical use of marijuana. Among those, eight states and the District of Columbia, also allow recreational use by adults over 21 years of age. However, because the federal government classifies marijuana as an illegal substance, banks providing services to state-licensed cannabis businesses could find themselves subject to criminal and civil liability under the Controlled Substances Act and certain federal banking statutes. This risk has significantly inhibited the willingness of financial institutions to provide services to these businesses.

Despite the contradictions between federal and state law, the marijuana industry continues to grow rapidly. Industry analysts report that sales grew by 30% to $6.7 billion in 2016 and expect those totals to exceed $20 billion by 2021. Yet those revenues often exist outside of the regulated banking space. Businesses are forced to operate on a cash basis. The grey market makes it more difficult to track revenues for taxation purposes, contributes to a public safety threat as cash intensive businesses are often targets for criminal activity, and prevents proper tracking of large swaths of finances across the nation.

To address these challenges, we are requesting legislation that would provide a safe harbor for depository institutions that provide a financial product or service to a covered business in a state that has implemented laws and regulations that ensure accountability in the marijuana industry such as the SAFE Banking Act (S. 1152 and H.R. 2215) or similar legislation. This would bring billions of dollars into the banking sector, and give law enforcement the ability to monitor these transactions. Moreover, compliance with tax requirements would be simpler and easier to enforce with a better-defined tracking of funds. This would, in turn, result in higher tax revenue.

Prior Department of Justice guidance outlined how financial institutions could provide services to state-licensed marijuana businesses consistent with their obligations under federal law and created some space for the banking industry to work with those businesses, though challenges remained in many areas. The recent rescission of that guidance has made the need for Congressional action to get the cash generated by this industry into a regulated banking sector even more urgent.

Our banking system must be flexible enough to address the needs of businesses in the various states, with state input, while protecting the interests of the federal government. This includes a banking system for marijuana-related businesses that is both responsive and effective in meeting the demands of our economy. We look forward to working with you as you move forward in this process and lending our voice and expertise as you develop legislation.

HPD Searching for Puna Man Missing Since August

The Hawaiʻi Island Police Department is searching for a 29-year-old Puna man reported as missing.

Garret Jenks

Garret Jenks was last seen in early August. He is described as 5-feet-8-inches, 140 pounds, thin build, light complexion, with hazel eyes and short blonde hair.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call Officer Branden Watanabe at the Puna Police Station (808) 965-2716 or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.

USS Fitzgerald: Courts-Martial Proceedings/Article 32

YOKOSUKA, Japan (June 17, 2017) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) returns to Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka following a collision with a merchant vessel while operating southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter Burghart/Released)

Below is a statement released January 16 by U.S. Navy Chief of Information (Acting), Capt. Greg Hicks on Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) charges preferred against individual service members in relation to the USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) collisions:

“On 30 October 2017, Admiral William Moran, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, designated Admiral Frank Caldwell as the Consolidated Disposition Authority to review the accountability actions taken to date in relation to USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) collisions and to take additional administrative or disciplinary actions as appropriate.

After careful deliberation, today Admiral Frank Caldwell announced that Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) charges are being preferred against individual service members in relation to the collisions.

USS Fitzgerald: Courts-martial proceedings/Article 32 hearings are being convened to review evidence supporting possible criminal charges against Fitzgerald members. The members’ ranks include one Commander (the Commanding Officer), two Lieutenants, and one Lieutenant Junior Grade. The charges include dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel, and negligent homicide.

USS John S. McCain: Additionally, for John S. McCain, one court- martial proceeding/Article 32 hearing is being convened to review evidence supporting possible criminal charges against one Commander (the Commanding Officer). The charges include dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel, and negligent homicide. Also, one charge of dereliction of duty was preferred and is pending referral to a forum for a Chief Petty Officer.

The announcement of an Article 32 hearing and referral to a court-martial is not intended to and does not reflect a determination of guilt or innocence related to any offenses. All individuals alleged to have committed misconduct are entitled to a presumption of innocence.

Additional administrative actions are being conducted for members of both crews including non-judicial punishment for four Fitzgerald and four John S. McCain crewmembers.

Information regarding further actions, if warranted, will be discussed at the appropriate time.”